CNC course designs Southern swag


Craig Blotter

Claudia Wilson, assistant professor, who teaches CNC Project Design & Analysis stands next to a display case containing previous student work. 

by Craig Blotter

In the Ummel Technology Building, students enrolled in the CNC Project & Cost Analysis course are preparing designs for Missouri Southern themed merchandise that may be sold in the campus bookstore.

A class assignment that goes back nine years, the project to design Southern merchandise, manufactural on a CNC machine, goes back to the first project in 2010, an aluminum coaster engraved with Southern’s mascot “Roary.” Now there is a display case in Ummel showcasing examples of past products and the students who designed them.

According to Claudia Wilson, assistant professor of industrial engineering technology, CNC Project & Cost Analysis is considered a sophomore capstone class.

“We call it a capstone class because it incorporates knowledge out of multiple different classes, like Engineering Materials, CNC Programming, Drafting and Design, and the Machine Tooling class,” said Wilson.

This year, according to Wilson, the class has four teams that will each submit a design. Ben Self, senior Industrial Engineering Technology major, is a member of the class and came up with his team’s idea: an earphone case. However, there is an entire semester of work to be done, and the design idea is just the first step of creating a workable product, according to Wilson.

A cabinet in the workshop contains tooling and remnants from past projects. Wilson explained that the students must come with solutions for how to hold their conceived project inside the CNC machine. Self, speaking about his earphone case concept, brought up the challenges associated with creating a device to hold the product for machining.

This semester the four teams will create an earphone case, a puzzle box (a box which requires a certain set of motions to open), a marble maze game, and a phone ring stand with a base in the shape of a lamp, according to Wilson. The entirety of the projects, from start to finish, will be student work, she emphasized.

The coasters were one of the more successful products the class has made in past semesters.

“We sold every bit of them; we sold over 180 coasters,” said Wilson.

She explained that the coasters have a raised ring around where the drink would sit, but in order to create that ring the surrounding material must be machined away.

The semester is not over yet, and this year’s class still has work to left to do. However, those interested in purchasing the class’s creations can check the bookstore at the end of the semester.